Dystopian Futures Blender

Apparently I wrote a glowing review of the first of this series, Delirium.  I wish I still had access to that book to refresh my memory before I dove into Pandemonium.  I love a good series but I hate waiting on the next installment.  Then when it FINALLY arrives, I have to reread the rest of the series to remember what’s going on.  It’s a combination of my old age coupled with the copious amounts of dystopian YA that I read.

I don’t have a lot of complaining to do about Pandemonium, but I do have to say that it’s starting to feel like Hunger Games was spliced together with Matched and Divergent.

Pandemonium‘s format was especially confusing for me.  Oliver flips between two timesets, ‘then’ and ‘now’ which are pretty self explanatory, if a little disjointed.  ‘Then’ focuses on Lena’s time in the Wilds; her escape with Alex, where he is captured and presumably killed, her induction into the tough group of outcasts that fight against the Cure, and their somewhat boring struggle for survival with little food and scanty shelter.  The ‘now’ chapters follow Lena after she has been reintroduced into the cured civilization, complete with a fake tattooed ‘Cure scar.’  She and two other members of the resistance (Raven and Tack in case you need to know) are infiltrating the DFA (Deliria-Free America).  Lena’s mission is only to fit in and observe, she is in the dark about the larger objective.  The DFA is led by Thomas Fineman, who is pushing for the Cure to be administered even earlier–despite the fact that it is largely unsuccessful on anyone younger; instead resulting in brain damage or death.  The poster child of the movement is his son, Julian, who has a brain tumor that causes seizures.  The Cure will probably kill him, but death is better than delirium–so the DFA says.

When she is instructed to attend a DFA rally, and not let Julian out of her sight, both Lena and Julian are kidnapped by Scavengers, another group of non-Cureds that are more like anarchists.  After days alone in a cell together, a dramatic escape, and the revelation that the Scavengers and the DFA are in cahoots, it’s little surprise that Lena and Julian start getting a little cosy.

Spoilers ahead!

Julian and Lena are captured again once they escape the underground Scavengers prison.  Lena’s mom (long story) sneaks her to freedom, but Julian is slated to be put to death by the DFA.  Lena discovers that her friends were in on the plan–she was supposed to be captured with Julian and have him fall in love with her.  Angry, she decides to rescue him herself.  Raven and Tack unexpectedly show up to help her, and they all manage to escape.

Then comes the only part of the book that I thought was really good.  Don’t keep reading if you want any sort of surprise ending …


Julian and Lena profess their love for each other, kiss kiss kiss….and Alex shows up.  All dark and angry-like because he’s been in prison all this time.

And then the book ends.

I can’t help but feel this is a little too Peeta vs Gale for me.  I mean, I’m glad Alex showed back up, otherwise we’d have no plot for Delirium numero tres, but at the same time, like I said before, these books are all starting to feel a little familiar.


About rhymenocerous

rhymenocerous combines a fondness for hip hop with her love of the serengeti. Her soft spot for kids in space is eclipsed only by her passion for time-travelling children. She eats too much cake and frequently pretends her dachshund speaks French. View all posts by rhymenocerous

3 responses to “Dystopian Futures Blender

  • The Brain Lair

    Agreed. I’m starting to get burned out on Dystopia/Post Apocalyptic fiction. I know that there are only so many stories in the world but it seems the “how to write dystopia for dummies” manual has arrived and everyone has picked it up. Is this a side effect of publishers looking for the next money maker? Do they think we don’t notice that the books are too similar? Unfortunately we are kind of between a rock and hard place because it’s a series. Though, on occasion, I’ve been known to abandon a series or two, though I’ll still buy it for the school. So, win for the pubs I guess.

    • rhymenocerous

      I cannot abandon a series. In fact, I can’t even abandon a book, even if I am hating it the entire time. It’s some weird guilt complex. I think dystopia will reign supreme until the next big series comes along, and then we’ll see a lot of copycats of that.

  • Ghosts of Indeterminate Gender « Rampant Reads

    […] it was pretty interesting that this is the same author (Lauren Oliver) that writes Delirium and Pandemonium.  I wouldn’t have guessed it otherwise.  Liesl and Po didn’t suffer from the […]

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